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Thursday, 13 March 2008

Cardens Bluff and Watauga Lake, Tennessee

Heidi Farnsworth of Alabama posted the following to the Carden mailing list at Rootsweb in March 2008.

"Lost Heritage: The People of Old Butler, Tennessee, and the Watauga Valley" by Russ Calhoun, Sr. (The Overmountain Press, Johnson City, TN):"

This book, available from Amazon and elsewhere, has some interesting information on the effects the TWA Watauga Reservoir/Dam had on the local families and community. Many of these were Carden's and their relatives. The result of this project relocated hundreds, the living and the dead. Some graves were re-interred and some were not. The town of Butler where many lived and had businesses now lay at the bottom of Watauga Lake. This is where many of my relatives lived. The book has a section with the names of the families, family history on where their home is located, how long they have been in the community, how old they are, occupation, children, and other information. It lists the people living in the household and what their plans are in relocating. Although my Dad and Uncle had talked about this event, I never knew the impact it had until I read the book. It also gave me much more insight into the history of the Carden family and some of the relatives they would marry.

CARDENS BLUFF The Cardens Bluff community, more accurately described as the area between Dividing Ridge Church and the Watauga River, was settled by the Carden, Campbell, Lewis and Smith families before the Revolutionary War. It was named for Ancil Carden, who owned the Bluff now known as Cardens Bluff. These early pioneers were of Anglo-Saxon origin, who loved their land and liberty. The soil of this valley, which lies along the Watauga River between the high mountains of the Unaka Range--now in Carter County--is still owned, loved and worked by the men and women who are descendants of the original settlers... Early in the TVA Watauga Dam Project the Cardens Bluff School, which served the community, was demolished. The students were then transported to Hampton and Fish Springs schools. Hampton and Elizabethton are the principal trading centers for the residents of Cardens Bluff." Some of the other areas, businesses and families noted in this book are: The Horseshoe Dam area, Carden's Mercantile Store, Carden's Bluff Grocery Store (owned my Mr. Mack Montgomery), Cardens Bluff Baptist Church, Cardens Bluff School (Principal Basil Hyder).

Heidi plans to visit the area in summer 2008, and it is hoped that she will supply a photograph in due course.

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